Two articles have been talked about a lot around the Where 2 Get It office this week. The two pieces seemingly have no obvious connection. One was written by a digital marketing consultant who focuses heavily on SEO, SEM, social advertising, social media marketing, and web analytics, and it was published for “all-things-search” website Search Engine Watch – considered by Google’s Matt Cutts to be “a must read” and Yahoo’s Tim Mayer to be the “most authoritative source on search.” The other, appearing on social media and “all-things-tech” blog Mashable, was written by the MIT Tech Review whose bio explains is focused on identifying emerging technologies and analyzing their impact for technology and business leaders. The former spoke to the importance of Facebook’s Graph Search in local search ranking while the latter hypothesized the potential impossibility of true anonymity due to the rise of big data. Starting to see the connection? Stick with me.
Just shy of a year ago, on May 18, 2012, the much talked about Facebook IPO took place, and at that time the social networking giant reported that it stored around 111 megabytes of photos and videos for each of its more than 1 billion users. This equates to roughly 100 petabytes of personal information alone. While the Facebook/Bing partnership was already about a year-and-a-half old at the time of the IPO, Facebook’s official foray into search – more specifically, social search – was still almost a year away. Still, at the time of the penning of this Facebook/Bing alliance (October 2010), critics were quick to dismiss the possibility that Facebook could make any sort of meaningful impact in the search world by partnering with Microsoft’s Bing – considered to be the extreme longshot underdog – rather than striking a deal with industry giant Google. (Interestingly Klout, a service that attempts to measure a person or brand’s social media influence, recently struck a deal with Bing to help buffer up Bing’s social search capabilities. The new “Klout Experts” concept seems to be attempting to bring a LinkedIn endorsement/Quora Q&A like approach to social search.)
Two-and-a-half years later, although it may look a lot different than anyone speculated, we have a Facebook search product that is rivaling Google in a very unique way. While consumers have traditionally gone to Google for all of their search needs, the rise of SoLoMo – not only as a buzzword but as an absolute necessity for any business hoping to compete in a world where a consumer’s mobile phone use has completely revolutionized the path to purchase – has made optimizing your business’ Facebook Page for Graph Search something that every business must take seriously.
Think about it: in a popular survey, Google reported that 88% of people conducting a mobile search took some kind of action — call, purchase, or in-store visit — within 24 hours. And it doesn’t stop there! Path to purchase no longer ends with the purchase; instead, that purchase is the beginning of anticipating where the consumer will go next – something we have been hearing about from Foursquare a lot lately. Furthermore, the MIT Tech Review article cites a recent study which used a “massive data set” (32,000 days of GPS readings taken from 307 people and 396 vehicles) which could predict a person’s approximate location up to 80 weeks into the future, at an accuracy of more than 80%!
In a world where technology often moves faster than purpose, we are at a place in time where business owners can potentially get ahead of the game by tailoring their Facebook Pages and content sharing strategies to reap enormous local Graph Search ranking benefits in the future. As Glenn Gabe so aptly points out in his Search Engine Watch article: “Facebook is still in the process of rolling out Graph Search to its 1 billion+ active user base, so now is the time to get your Page and social strategy in order.”
Furthermore, as Glenn points out, it’s critical for businesses to double and triple check their Page information, categories, etc. to make sure it is accurate and optimized for discoverability and ranking in Graph Search. However, for businesses with multiple locations (like franchisees), optimizing for Graph Search at scale can be an extremely manual and daunting task. Thankfully, Where 2 Get It’s Local Social Manger solution (see video below) and Facebook Business Locator and Business Claiming solutions can help you simplify that process!